Cocaine and Heat Stroke

When you hear of a highly conditioned athlete dying of heat stroke, think of cocaine and amphetamines. An article in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows that a single nasal spray of cocaine blocks blood flow to the skin and sweating, to prevent a person from cooling his own body.

During exercise, more than 70 percent of the energy used to drive your muscles is lost as heat, so you heart has to pump extra blood from your hot muscles to your skin where you sweat, sweat evaporates, and cools your skin to dissipate the heat. The harder you exercise, the more heat your muscles produce. Everyone who exercises, particularly in hot weather, has to sweat to keep your body temperature from rising too high. Cocaine and amphetamines can kill exercisers by blocking sweating and blood flow to the skin.

Mechanism of cocaine-induced hyperthermia in humans. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2002, Vol 136, Iss 11, pp 785-791. CG Crandall, W Vongpatanasin, RG Victor. Crandall CG, Presbyterian Med Ctr, Inst Exercise & Environm Med, 7232 Greenville Ave, Dallas,TX 75231 USA

Checked 8/31/08

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